Let’s face it, the exterior of your house has seen better days.
You’ve probably been wanting to make improvements for a while now, but you may be overwhelmed by all the choices out there. You want to go with siding, but what kind?
It IS possible to find the best exterior siding that’s a good combination of fitting your budget and your needs. Here we will lay out the different kinds of siding along with their pros and cons and guide you toward making the perfect choice for your home.
So whether you’re replacing existing siding or trying it for the first time, read on to get all the information you need.
Table of Contents
- What Is The Best Siding? Here Are Your Options
- What Is The Best Type of Siding For a House? 5 Factors to Consider
- Get a Free Estimate on Your Siding Installation With Elite Home Exteriors NW Today
What Is The Best Siding? Here Are Your Options
As you look around your neighborhood, you probably see many varieties of siding and aren’t sure what they are or how they are different. You’re wondering, “What is the best siding for a house?”
Keep reading this guide to the main sidings used in the industry along with the pros and cons of each to help you decide what the best exterior siding materials are for your needs.
Cedar Plank Siding
Cedar siding is natural wood siding either made from Western Red or White Cedar. It can be formed into horizontal lap panels, shingles, or shakes.
Cedar Siding Pros
There are many pros to choosing cedar siding including:
- Cedar is a fragrant and beautiful wood.
- It is biodegradable, making it a good choice for green homes.
- Cedar is naturally pest-resistant.
- Many people like the traditional look of cedar siding.
- It is versatile in that it comes in different styles, can be painted, treated with stain or oil, or even left untreated to take on a silvery patina over time.
- Well-maintained cedar siding can improve your home’s value.
Cedar Siding Cons
On the other hand, cedar has cons to consider before choosing such as:
- Cedar is more expensive than many other types of siding.
- It’s a lot of work to properly maintain.
- Cedar has a shorter lifespan than other types of siding. Many of the planks will need to be replaced after only 10 to 15 years, and even with the most diligent maintenance it only lasts 20 to 30 years in some climates.
- Cedar is highly susceptible to moisture and rot.
- Paint and stain on the siding will eventually break down after constant exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
- If cedar isn’t primed properly before it is painted, the sap can bleed through and mar the finish.
- The frequent need to replace cedar planks can increase your carbon footprint since it requires continuous harvesting of trees.
- While cedar siding does come in several different styles, it is still more limited than other types and might not fit with your home, especially if you have a more contemporary aesthetic.
Metal siding has been in use since the 1940s and is created from aluminum or steel. These days it often comes in panels that have been embossed to look like natural wood.
Metal Siding Pros
Some of the pros of metal siding include:
- Metal siding is a durable, low-maintenance option and can last 50 years or more with basic care.
- Aluminum siding is lightweight and easy to handle, so it makes the installation process a little easier.
- Because steel siding is strong and heavy, it is resistant to denting.
- Metal siding is fire-resistant.
- It is impervious to insects, including termites.
- Neither aluminum nor metal siding will rot, and aluminum also won’t rust or blister.
- Metal siding helps homeowners save money on energy bills by diverting the sun’s rays with its reflective properties.
- It comes in many factory-made colors and textures.
Metal Siding Cons
But there are negatives to metal siding, such as:
- Metal siding has an enormous carbon footprint because the materials take a lot of energy to manufacture, are not renewable, and often have to be shipped long distances.
- Aluminum siding dents and scratches easily.
- Steel siding can rust.
- Since metal changes color easily, it can be difficult to exactly match a new panel if you do need a replacement.
Vinyl Plank Siding
Vinyl plank siding first came on the scene in the 1950s and has been growing in popularity ever since. It is manufactured primarily with PVC and is currently the most-used exterior cladding across the United States and Canada.
Vinyl Plank Siding Pros
Vinyl siding has a lot going for it. For instance:
- Vinyl siding is remarkably strong.
- It never needs painting — the color is baked-in and runs all the way through, so it can’t be scratched off or stripped.
- Vinyl is one of the less expensive siding options.
- Vinyl siding is low-maintenance — its slick surface means a quick hose-down will easily rid your home’s exterior of dirt and debris.
- It will not rust, dent, or conduct electricity as metal siding does.
- Unlike wood, vinyl doesn’t warp, rot, or chip.
- Vinyl generally stands up well to the elements.
- It doesn’t attract termites or other pests.
- Vinyl can act as a great insulator against extreme temperatures, which will save you money on your energy bills.
- The installation process is relatively simple.
- It comes in a wide variety of colors, styles, and architectural details.
- Good quality, well-maintained vinyl can last for up to 40 years.
Vinyl Plank Siding Cons
There are some things you may not enjoy about vinyl siding, like:
- Your home’s value may be lowered if you have vinyl siding installed due to its appearance — it tends to flatten the exterior look and obscure special molding and trim.
- There is a general opinion that vinyl siding is an inferior building material — even if you choose quality vinyl, many people still think of it as cheap.
- If damage does occur to the siding, it can’t be patched — the entire plank has to be replaced.
- Dark vinyl siding may fade in the sun, and painting it isn’t an option since it will peel and crack after a short time.
- The insulation used under vinyl siding can trap water vapor, which can lead to rot in the structure of your home.
- The process of manufacturing vinyl siding creates by-products that are bad for the environment and recycling PVC after use is difficult and expensive.
Hardie Board Siding
Hardie Board, also known as fiber cement siding, is formed from cement, sand, and cellulose fibers.
Created in the mid-1980s, Hardie Board is a relative newcomer to the home improvement industry compared to other types of siding but has become increasingly popular over the years due to its long list of positive features.
Hardie Board Siding Pros
Hardie Board is a leader in the home improvement industry due to the following characteristics:
- Hardie Board is extremely durable in that it stands up well to severe weather, humidity, and temperature changes.
- It is resistant to moisture penetration, so homeowners who choose this option don’t have to deal with the hassles of rotting, swelling, or warping.
- Fiber cement siding is fire-resistant.
- Hardie Board is resistant to pests, including termites, carpenter ants, and woodpeckers.
- Fiber cement siding is highly customizable — it comes in a large array of colors and styles and can even closely mimic the look of real wood. It’s such a great dupe that many historical districts throughout the United States have approved it as a replacement for wood siding. Plus, Hardie Board can be painted if you want to change things a bit or do a touch-up.
- Hardie Board is highly customizable to match your home’s architectural style and your personal preference.
- It is an eco-friendly choice, both because of its natural content and the maker’s sustainability practices.
- Hardie Board only needs light cleaning periodically, so it’s very low-maintenance.
- It comes with an impressive 30 year, non-prorated, transferable warranty.
Hardie Board Siding Cons
However, this type of siding has a few cons:
- Hardie Board is more expensive than some other types of siding, particularly the popular vinyl.
- Fiber cement is heavier and harder to handle than other siding materials, so it may take longer to install.
- While Hardie Board’s ColorPlus Technology Warranty covers the siding’s color for 15 years, you may need to repaint after that.
What is The Best Type of Siding For a House? 5 Factors to Consider
No one siding is the perfect fit for every buyer. There are many different things to take into consideration.
#1: Your Budget
If you want to improve your home’s exterior but you’re on a strict budget, the cost involved with the project is probably going to be the most important factor for you.
In this case, vinyl siding may be your best option due to its lower cost and relatively high durability for the money.
For some of our customers, the #1 factor that interests them is, “How much time will I have to spend taking care of it?”
Take Jeremy, for example. He owns several rental properties that he uses to supplement his income. One of the homes was losing its curb appeal, so Jeremy was looking into replacing the exterior. But he didn’t want to choose something that would require a lot of his time to maintain.
In Jeremy’s case, the best siding would likely be vinyl or Hardie Board because they are both low-maintenance options. He can simply stop by the house a couple of times a year and give it a quick wash-down, then not have to think about it again for a while.
#3: Your Desired Aesthetic
The look you’re going for with your home’s exterior may be the driving factor in your siding choice.
- Cedar siding will give you a more traditional look, but you do have some customization options with the style and of course colors or finishes.
- Metal siding is great for modern or industrial styles, although it can be embossed with wood grain for a traditional option.
- Vinyl siding is manufactured in many different profiles and textures these days, so you have quite a few choices that will likely fit into your desired aesthetic.
- Hardie Board can be customized to fit any architectural style with a variety of siding, panels, and boards. If you want a lot of design choices and lasting color, look into this alternative.
If you aren’t sure which style you want, check out our gallery for some inspiration ideas.
#4: Return on Investment
If you’re going to put a big chunk of money into improving the exterior of your home, you should make sure you’ll get your money (and more) back out of it in the future.
As we said before, vinyl is a lower-cost option, but it can damage the resale value of homes because many people don’t think it’s the best kind of siding for a house.
Hardie Board, however, will significantly increase the value of your home — by an average of 87% — and has been rated one of the top projects with the highest return on investment.
So if you have a little more money to spend and want to get a lot more out of it, Hardie Board is your best bet.
Hardie Board is hands-down your best option if durability is the most important factor in your siding choice, especially in the damp climate of the Pacific Northwest.
As you’ll recall, it is:
- Moisture and rot-resistant
Plus it comes with an incredible warranty.
Get a Free Estimate on Your Siding Installation With Elite Home Exteriors NW Today
No matter which siding option you choose — or if you still need help determining which one you want — Elite Home Exteriors NW is here to help you every step of the way. Give us a call or send a message today to get started with a free estimate to begin your home’s transformation.